Ron Paul has little to no chance of beating President Barack Obama, according to a poll of Republican influentials in New Hampshire and three other early-voting states.
Nearly four out of five of the 190 people responding to the latest Patch-Huffington Post Power Outsiders poll of Republican voters in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Florida said the Texas Congressman has almost no shot at winning the GOP nomination, let alone defeating Obama in the general election. Less than one-third described Paul in positive terms. Among the words used were "extreme," "crazy," "unelectable" and "nut."
Only 28 percent used positive words to describe Paul, including "consistent," "focused," "honest" and "smart." That's the lowest percentage for any candidate or prospective candidate tested so far.
Electability is by far their biggest concern about Paul. Just 21 percent describe him as someone who can beat Obama in the general election, while 78 percent have doubts. That score ranks him at the bottom of the candidates tested so far, below even Michele Bachmann (29 percent described her as able to beat Obama) and Sarah Palin (37 percent).
The Power Outsiders view Paul as an even less viable candidate for the Republican nomination, with just 14 percent seeing him as someone who "can win" the nomination.
One Republican influential from New Hampshire said Paul is “an embarrassment to the Party.” Another called him “the Barry Goldwater of our generation,” and “extreme to the point of being impractical.”
Several respondents said Paul’s foreign policy stances are downright dangerous.
“Ron Paul is an isolationist who borders on being thoroughly naive," said one. "While he is very well-versed in the Constitution, his policies are dangerous to America and the world."
“Great on monetary policy, but dangerously wrong on foreign policy,” said another.
But others called him the most honest of all the GOP candidates.
"Ron Paul, a man with uncompromisable principles who has proven himself honest, respectful and effective, is personally responsible for reawakening the American Spirit… (he) is the only candidate running for president who will truly restore this nation to its former glory, inspiring other nations to follow our example."
Each week, our local Patch editors will be asking influential New Hampshire Republicans questions about the presidential campaign, and we'll report the results here.
We’re still looking to expand our list of influential members of both parties in New Hampshire. If you’d like to participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll connect you with the appropriate Patch editor.